Running a business is a constant ebb and flow. Nothing stays the same. And while it is difficult to prepare for unexpected situations — like the economy going sour or losing a key employee — being ready for anything and having the right tools can go a long way to making changes easier to handle.

Let’s look at some common changes a business may experience and the tools that can help mitigate each situation.

The Economy Falls on its Face

This is an all-too-real example for many of us. The last few years have tested even the most solid businesses, and have, sadly, weeded out those who weren’t prepared for the economic downturn.

What do you do when business grinds to a halt? Shut your doors or keep going?

If you’ve been marketing your business steadily, you may be less negatively affected by a recession than others. That means blogging, sending email newsletters, connecting with customers via social media long before you’re in crisis mode. Can’t tell when crisis mode is about to hit? It shouldn’t matter if you’re consistently putting effort into marketing.

And fortunately, these are all free or low-cost marketing tools, so even if your budget is nil, you can afford to market.

Your Biggest Customer Just Left

One customer made up 50% of your revenue, and now you’re scrambling to figure out how to replace the income. Again, marketing will come in handy, but what if you could have seen this coming? Using a tool like a customizable online CRM can show you the warning signs before the customer gives you the boot.

For example, let’s say you log every conversation with this client and keep track of each project. If you look at the contact’s history, you notice that initially, you spoke with the client weekly, and all his orders were about the same size. But a few months ago, your conversations dropped to once or twice a month, and his orders were cut in half. If you also track his social accounts, you might notice that he’s talking about cutting back at his business.

With this information, you might have been able to prevent him leaving your company completely. You might have kept this customer by offering special pricing or cutting him a break on payment terms.

Your Star Employee Quit

You’ve come to rely completely on one individual, and now he’s leaving you with a mound of work you don’t have time to take on. He managed all your social accounts, and you have no idea where those passwords are.

This demonstrates why documenting everything is so important. Using a cloud-based system like Google Drive can help you easily find documents your ex-employee was working on. You can share files that include passwords or employee handbooks with your next employee so you don’t have to dig around on a computer to find them.

And speaking of handbooks: make sure you have a solid process to train your staff so that if and when an employee leaves, you have an easy way to help the new hire ramp up.

Your Computers Die in a Flood/Fire/Dragon Attack

If you were to lose access to your computers today, could your company survive? Is all your sensitive data stored on actual computers, versus in the cloud?

Cloud-based storage is no longer the future. It’s now. And it’s critical for backing up everything that exists on your company computers. That way, in case of dragon attack, you can still access your data.

While you can’t prevent crises and bumps in the road, you can at least feel somewhat prepared for disaster when you have a plan and the right tools.

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